Archive for March 2009

Talking with Stacey

March 28, 2009

I’m doing something new this week and interviewing one of WisRWA’s young, published authors.  I’ve read all four of Stacey Netzel’s published works and love each of them in a different way.  What also impresses me about her writing is the growth I see with each work.  Her stories are delightful and uplifting, and many of us have times in our lives when we need a helping tablespoon of both.  At least I know I do.

 

Stacey’s recently released book, Chasin’ Mason, drew me in for many reasons.  One being its focus on a horse.  A beautiful horse.  A special breed.

 

horsesI inherited my love for horses from my grandfather, and on my office wall I have a photograph of his three favorite horses.  His sister snapped the photo with a Kodak camera in the 1920’s.  She took it from the back porch of the farmhouse. Unlike Stacey’s horse, these horses were not a special breed, but they were my grandpa’s.  He loved them like Stacey’s characters love the beautiful horse in her story. 

 

Here’s more about Chasin’ Mason.  And then Stacey will answer my questions in our interview.

 

 

chasinmason_w1938_300Chasin’ Mason, by Stacey Joy Netzel 

Contemporary Western  188pgs
e-book: March 18th   Print:  May 1st

ISBN: 1-60154-387-5

Buy link:

When his father announced his engagement to a gold-digger with a lying, scheming fourteen-year old daughter, seventeen-year old Tripp Warner left Warner Ridge Ranch and never looked back. Until the day he got the phone call that his father had died unexpectedly.

 Reggie Reed lives with her guilt every day but can’t quite work up the courage to track down the son of the man who raised her as his own. When Tripp shows up at his father’s funeral eleven years later–and a hell of a man to be reckoned with–he has no interest in her too-late apology. Worse, they’ve inherited half shares of the family ranch—but only if they work together to catch Mason’s Gold, the stallion a young Reggie let escape and made sure Tripp took the blame for.

Tripp proposes a secret competition to the beautiful witch who stole his life: whoever catches the stallion first gets the ranch all to themselves. It sounds simple, but once they’re out on the range, tempers and passions flare in the Texas heat and nothing goes as either of them expects.

Can they work together to keep the ranch, or will their past get in the way of their future?

~*~

Casey:  Stacey, how excited you are with this upcoming release and why?

 

Stacey: Not to take anything away from the debut of Welcome to Redemption that I shared with my good friend Donna Marie Rogers (I got tears in my eyes when I first held the book in my hands), but I’m VERY excited for Chasin’ Mason because it’s my first solo full length release that will also be out in print.  Plus it has horses in it, and I love a book with horses.  I was so pumped for the release, I had 5000 bookmarks printed!  But half of them were off center, so the company sent me another 5000.  LOL  Readers, please check out my contest at the end of the post to see how you can help me distribute some of those 7500 bookmarks and win something in the process. *grin*

 

Casey: How did you choose this subject and these characters? 

 

Stacey: About two months before November 2007, just before Nanowrimo (National Novel Writing Month), my local country music station was talking about a band in Milwaukee called Chasin’ Mason.  I’d heard their name before, but it dawned on me that that’d be a great name for a book.  So I had to figure out who Mason was, and who was chasin’ him.  Mason ended up being the stallion on the book cover, and then I had a ‘vision’ of my heroine and hero meeting again at a funeral, which became the opening for the book.  I wrote 95% of Chasin’ Mason that November, polished it up, and submitted to The Wild Rose Press January of 2008.

 

Casey: How do you juggle writing, working, parenting, spousing, etc., when you’re in serious writing mode?

 

Stacey: I am not good at juggling, ask my family.  When I want to be writing and life has me too busy to do that, I get really crabby.  In fact, this spring I’m taking a break from writing anything new because I am filling in at my day job full time and if I try to come home to write, that leaves no time for my family.  So I’m working on figuring out a balance for everyone. J When in serious writing mode, in the middle of a new WIP, everyone knows mom’s working, and they need to be patient with me (though I’m not always patient with them).  I am lucky that my husband is very supportive (until I want to spend too much money on promotion items).

 

Casey: What’s your philosophy about writing and what advice do you have for us? 

 

Stacey: I have cliché advice, but it’s so true:  NEVER give up!  Do what makes you happy.  Whether you’re pursuing publication or not, if writing those words on paper (or typing them into your computer) makes you happy, don’t ever stop.  You may get published next week, month, year…or you may never show those stories to anyone, but if you enjoy it, then just do it!  It’s YOUR dream, no one else’s.

 

The last thing I’d like to tell everyone about is a contest I’m running to spread the word about Chasin’ Mason’s release.  Visit my website for details on how YOU could win one of 16 prizes in just ONE contest!

 

Casey, thank you so much for having me here to visit with you today.  I absolutely can’t wait for the release of Black Ribbon Affair.  Here’s to a happy, WARM Spring for everyone!

 

~Stacey Joy Netzel

 

Casey:  Thanks, Stacey.  I’ve enjoyed having you here today.  And folks, if you want to comment or ask Stacey a questions, she’ll be monitoring this blog today and tomorrow. J

Advertisements

Spring? Let’s Hope So

March 22, 2009

Friday was the first day of spring.j0438955  Where I live that doesn’t mean the crocuses are up or the trees are near leafing out.  It might mean we have a day here and there where temperatures reach into the 70s F.  If were really lucky, the snow has melted.

 

We’ve had a few of those lovely days and most of our snow has disappeared. 

 

What I’ve noticed in the past week is the trees’ buds had fattened up, promising this spring’s leafy, light green isn’t far away.  After a walk today to spring-bulbscheck out my garden (not that it’s cleaned up yet), I noticed my spring bulbs are definitely poking through the winter mulch and debris.  Heartening. J

 

Even better is the morning songs of birds we’ve not heard throughout the winter.  Since I live on a lake, I’m seeing the start of spring migrations of ducks which is always fascinating. I keep my binoculars and bird book handy.

 

I hope weather lasts.  That we aren’t being teased.  A year ago today we got dumped with 17 inches of snow. L

 

What I’ve noticed about myself at this time of year is my increased energy. My mind bubbles with new ideas and potential plots.  Like the earth, the birds, the trees and bulbs, I’m seeing a rebirth in my creativity, like I’m pulling myself out of a long winter hibernation.

 

I can’t wait to start a new writing project.  To find myself learning more about new characters and figuring out what I can orchestrate in their lives to make their story come alive, make them as loveable to potential readers and they become to me. I have writing tasks to finish in March, but will be starting a new project in April.  My mind is gearing up.

 

Ah, spring…wherever I look, I see new life, new ideas, fresh fodder for my muse.Bulbs to Daffodils

In April those bulbs will be bursting.  So will my next project’s rough draft.

What about you? How will you use this new life season?

March 14, 2009


CB033386Yes, I have a fair amount of the Irish in my family heritage.  Since St. Patrick’s day is on Tuesday, March 17th  I’m pulling out the kettle to make the corned beef, cabbage, potatoes and carrots.  Those sons who live in town will be HUNGRY and I make that dinner only around this time.  Ups their anticipation.
J

 

Once we’re fed we must watch our favorite Irish movie, The Quiet Man.  Most of us have our favorite lines from that movie.  Mine comes from John Wayne’s character, Sean Thornton: “Some things a man doesn’t get over so easy.”  He’s referring to the first glimpse he got of Maureen O’Hara’s character.

 

Another is Sean’s also: “There’ll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate—except for those in your own mercenary little heart.”  Few words, but they say scads more.

 

All the dialogue always has intrigued me. Much of the movie plot and characters is stereotyped.  But the love of those involved in the movie for the people, the land, the music, the characters flows through.  Here’s a link to the Quiet Man trailer.

 

Of course, we have other favorites also: The Secret of Roan Inish, The Waking of Ned Devine, My Left Foot, In America, and so many others.  That’s probably why we have to start our celebration early to get all those movies in.  J

 

 Of course, that day everyone is Irish, so my Austrian hubby tells me.  However, when people see me they often tell me I look Irish.  It’s probably the round face, blue-green eyes, dark hair and fair skin.  Maybe that’s also where my love of story-telling comes from.

 

When I write, I always have Celtic music playing.  Always.  It fires my creative juices.  I have my favorites and use their music at different times.  Celtic Women—I first learned of them during a PBS special. Their music is both haunting and thrilling, especially when the drummers get going.  Enya has been a favorite for years and Patrick Ball with his harp and James Galway with his flute.  The Irish Tenors have been favorites of my husband along with the Chieftains.

 

My most favorite and haunting Irish melody, The Women of Ireland, is more special since my son John loved it so much also.  I think of him each time I hear it. 

 

My Irish ancestors came from County Clare. One of my goals is to visit there before I die.  Everyone I know who’s been there says it’s magical.  When my ancestors came here to America, they came because their county wasn’t so magical but in the throes of a terrible famine and very hard times.  That’s often the reason many people leave their homes to find a better life.  That journey holds the stuff of wonderful stories and the Irish have told them well.  I feel lucky to have that special gene dwell in me.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to all of you.

 irish-oreo

March 8, 2009

You’ve all heard that old saying: “Caught between a rock and a hard place.”

 

Now, really, how many of us are ever going to get caught between a rock and something harder?  Maybe, if you’re mountain climbers, or cave explorers, or scuba divers. Things like that.  All of which sound too dangerous for me.

 

But we also know that’s not what the saying means.

Dangerous Shore

Dangerous Shore

 

 

 

In its subtle meaning lies the message.  The point.  If we’re there, we’re stuck.  Mired down in something on all sides.  That something could be physical and dangerous.  Or internal and maybe more scary.  Because those internal fears and dangers we endure quite often steal our personhood.  Drain our energy.  Deny our success.  Ignore our failures.

 

Thus, as a person we remain stagnant and cowering between that rock and a hard place. 😦

 

As a writer, I often put my characters in such situations.  Sometimes I’m so mean to them, I wonder how they’ll ever get out between this rock and that hard place.  But they do.  Because they don’t give up, they analyze, they fight, they grow and they’re successful.  That’s my fictional story, and I can control those rocks and hard places.

 

Ah, but my writer self?  What are those places for me?  Oh, many, but one dangerous situation I have that I think many writers share, is that time in our writing process where we know the ending, we’ve put together a gripping beginning, and we’re cooking along in that all important middle. 

 

You think this is a sagging middle uplift hint, right?

 

Wrong.

 

I’m thinking about that rock called, Everything I write is crap, and that hard place named, I’ll never be a success.  If you’re lucky, you’ve never hit this dangerous zone. Like an IED (Improvised Explosive Device, or booby traps of old), you never see them coming but their damage can be horrific.  Mine usually happen a few times during a writing project, even one I feel great about. 

 

I had one this last week–as I was doing a polishing edit to my most recent work.   There I sat, with my printed pages in my lap and my purple pen at the ready to make my changes.  I hit that IED.  Hard. 😦

 

I can’t write!” followed quickly by, “Readers will hate my books.”  I wallowed in my danger zone for about an hour.  Then my writing muse kicked my butt, reminded me why I love writing and yeah, some readers won’t like my work.  But that’s okay.  Then she gifted me with the perfect little tidbit to polish up and finish the chapter I was editing.

 

That hour was dangerous.  Had it lasted too long or “help” hadn’t arrived, I’d have bled out all my creative juices.  Or been stuck on that chapter for the next week, or never finished the editing at all.  Whose fault would that have been?  Mine.

 

I am my own toughest critic and the biggest obstacle to my success.  Or at least my perception of success.  And if I don’t feel successful within myself, how can I ever achieve not being afraid of it, or worrying about it, or hampering my creativity because of it.  I can’t.

What do I do know?

Where do I go from here?

 

 

 

Can you put a name to your rock and a hard place?

Have a great week! 🙂

Finished & Flopped

March 1, 2009

I finished!emma-kitty1

 

What? You ask.  Why the book I’ve mentioned and said last week I planned to finish sometime during this past week.

 

I did.  I kept my promise.  And to my book.  I even finished it at 3:32 PM CST on Tuesday.  Not like the last day of the week.

 

What a high…another goal set and achieved.  Hubby and I even celebrated, a modified, fossilized, Midwestern version of Fat Tuesday. 🙂

 

Then I flopped.  Laid low by what I thought was a flu bug.  But it’s hung around.  Forced me to the ground, or at least tethered me to my bed, too weak to walk or work.  Worse, I missed a weekend trip away—one I’ve looked forward to as it is a gathering of the women in my family.  A bonding time. 

 

I’ve given up and admitted the obvious.  I probably don’t have a flu bug and will have to make the dreaded call to my doctor, an excellent one, but you all know how that goes.  You drag yourself in to the office, then you have to get “tests” and lab work and much of it requires dragging yourself to other places.  And your energy level is zero. 😦

 

But I’ve decided I have a larger goal.  A high-shine polish to put on that book and my own personal deadline to complete that.  That needs energy and a feel-great attitude.  Not something in big supply for me right now.

 

So I better find zip real quick.  I refuse to let my writing succumb to a “bug” whatever it might be called.  If only I were Wonder Woman in real life…

perky-puppy